We’ve saved the wooden prince of toys till last, but his is one of the oldest and most frequently adapted tales of all.
The Adventures Of Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi, began in 1881 in serialised and book forms. Of all the live-action and animated versions that followed, most of us are likely to picture the 1940 Disney version when Pinocchio’s name is mentioned.
This is one of the few films where, by becoming real, the toy becomes a danger to himself, as Pinocchio is exploited by strangers and corrupted by bad boys and makes all the wrong decisions when left to his own devices.
Telling the story of the marionette that’s brought to life by The Blue Fairy in answer to carver/father Geppetto’s wish upon a star, Pinocchio is a classic cautionary tale. While some of the allegorical elements and fates of characters from the original story were changed for the times and youngest viewers, it’s still a story of longing and wish fulfilment, provided you follow the rules.
This is old school hand-drawn animation wherein each background scene is richly rendered, shadowed and shaded and still makes much of modern animation drab and sketchy in comparison. Pinocchio is a wonder to watch, and in that final scene where he becomes a real boy, we can share Geppetto’s joy, but will miss the unlucky, plucky wooden one.